Due to Life Alert’s decades in the medical alert system industry, its name is often synonymous with medical alert systems. On paper, this should give it a great edge over its competitors, and you’d expect that it would be an industry leader and the gold standard for medical alert systems. Unfortunately, the company has not kept up with the latest technology and does not provide customers with the value and flexibility that many other companies in the industry do today.

Life Alert offers the most basic selection of medical alert services (such as home systems and mobile devices), as do all of its competitors. Unlike most other companies, it does not offer free trial periods, free activation, and contract-free service. One of the largest concerns is its three-year contract policy – it’s very prohibitive to those who don’t want to lock themselves into a large monthly bill. Even worse, many customers report going through a major hassle to cancel the contract if needed, and many times no refund is offered.

Life Alert’s start-up costs are also a major issue. Most of its competitors offer free activation, free equipment, and self-installation. None of these are provided by Life Alert. Starting fees with the company can cost up to $200 – that’s before considering monthly service fees. In addition, none of these costs are available on its website, requiring potential customers to call in and speak with high-pressure salesmen just to discover these costs.

Takeaways: What You Should Know About Life Alert

As a pioneer in the space, Life Alert has been in the medical alert system business since 1987. Despite its longevity in the industry, Life Alert fails to keep up with competitors offering a wider range of service options at lower costs. 

Some of its main issues include: 

  • High start-up fees
  • No free trial period
  • Binding contracts (and cancellation difficulties)
  • Few and outdated device options

The Bottom Line

Our opinion is that, if you’re looking for a medical alert system for yourself or a loved one, you should consider other brands such as Bay Alarm Medical, MobileHelp, or Medical Guardian. All of these brands offer more services and better technology at a lower cost and much more flexibility. 

How Life Alert Compares to Other Medical Alert Systems

Despite its long-standing presence in the medical alert space, Life Alert lacks quite a few basic features that most of its competitors offer. Below is a table comparing the basic services of Life Alert versus other top medical alert providers. 

 
Life Alert
Bay Alarm
MobileHelp
Medical Guardian
MedicalAlert
Life Fone
GetSafe
MedicalCareAlert
Qmedic
Rescue Touch
Monthly Cost
$49.95 - $89.95
$19.95 - $49.95
$19.95 - $49.95 
$27.45 - $36.62
$10.00 - $42.95
$22.87 - $45.95 
$24.95
$27.45 - $36.62
$25.00-$33.33
$34.00 - $69.00
Contract

Fall Protection

GPS

Self Installation

Free Spouse Monitoring

Wellness Checks

Free Shipping

Free Cancellation

Free Trial Period

Pros and Cons of Life Alert Medical Alert Systems

Pros:

  • Devices have impressive battery life
  • No extra cost for cellular in-home system
  • All devices are fully waterproof

Cons:

  • Costs are significantly higher than the industry average
  • Mandatory 3-year contract with cancellation fees
  • No cost information on website
  • No free trial
  • No fall detection service
  • No free spouse monitoring
  • No easy self-installation
  • Outdated website with old graphics and low-quality videos

Life Alert’s Costs 

Life Alert, Bay Alarm Medical, MobileHelp, and Medical Guardian are four of the biggest names in the medical alert system industry. These companies have years of experience and a variety of products and plans. 

Looking closer at its costs, however, it’s easy to see how Life Alert trails far behind its three major competitors. The table below compares a variety of costs associated with these four medical alert systems, and clearly Life Alert charges much more than the others.

 
Life Alert
Bay Alarm Medical
MobileHelp
Medical Guardian
In-Home Starting Cost
$95.00*
$0.00
$0.00
$0.00
Mobile Starting Cost
$0 (requires in-home system)
$0.00
$0.00
$0.00
Equipment Fees
$198.00*
$0.00
$0.00
$0.00
Shipping Fees
Free Shipping
Free Shipping
Free Shipping
Free Shipping
Cancellation Charge?
Prorated Refund?
Specific circumstances only
Trial Period?

*Information found from third-party sources as it was not available on the company website.

With much more cost-effective options on the market, it’s easy to see that Life Alert’s competitors are a better choice, especially for those on a budget. Activation fees and contracts can make it a prohibitively expensive option, and there are many more cost-effective systems with flexible contracts and cancellation policies.

Life Alert’s Devices and Plans

Starting Costs and Contracts

All Life Alert customers have to pay a one-time fee of approximately $95. The fee varies slightly based on the level of protection customers choose. This fee includes shipping, in-home installation, and activation. There are no other startup costs.

Life Alert requires customers to sign a three-year contract. Users may only cancel their service prior to the end of their contract for “qualifying circumstances,” such as moving to a nursing home. Otherwise, if a user does choose to end their service in the middle of their contract period, they may be responsible for paying for the remaining months of the contract.

Plan and Device Overview

In-the-Home

In-the-Bathroom

On-the-Go

Monthly Cost

$49

$19 Additional

$19 Additional

One-time Fees

$95

$96*

$96*

Type of Device

In-home

In-home

Mobile

Connection

Landline/Cellular

Landline/Cellular

Cellular

Battery Life

72-hour backup

Up to 10 years

Up to 10 years

Water-Resistant

Yes, fully waterproof

Yes, fully waterproof

Yes, fully waterproof

Shower-proof

Yes

Yes

Yes

Range

800-1,000 feet

Unlimited

Unlimited

Fall Detection

Not available

Not available

Not available

*If all three levels of protection are selected, then the one-time fee is $198

When doing the research for this Life Alert review, our team discovered that Life Alert’s plans can be somewhat confusing, but here are the basics of what you need to know:

  • Life Alert breaks down its plans into three levels of protection: Signature In-Home Service, Bathroom HELP Button, and HELP On the Go with GPS.
  • The tiers build on one another (so, if a customer selects either the Bathroom HELP button or HELP On the Go, they will also receive the Signature In-Home Service) and can be designed to fit a person’s lifestyle and budget.

Life Alert Monitoring and Mobile App

Life Alert operates its own monitoring center. The center is U.S.-based and UL-listed. According to the Life Alert website, the center is “saving a life from catastrophe every 11 minutes.”

Operators spend up to a year training, and always have users’ health history on file to access during an emergency and give to paramedics. They also send notifications to users’ listed contacts to let them know that their loved one placed an emergency call and may need assistance. More importantly, Life Alert stays on the line and manages an emergency from start to finish so its customers never feel alone.

Life Alert Mobile App and Phone Access

Life Alert users may download the company’s mobile app, which allows them to contact the monitoring center directly through their smartphone. If users are in an emergency and have their phone handy, they can press a button in the app to connect with the monitoring center. In certain situations, some seniors may find this option simpler than pressing their personal help button. It is also a good backup in case a user finds themselves in an emergency when they are not wearing their device.

Seniors who do not have a smartphone have the option of calling the monitoring center through a normal cell phone. They will be given the phone number for the center, and can simply dial it into their phone to connect if they are in an emergency situation and are not wearing their help button. Life Alert recommends that users add the number to their speed dial for simplicity.

What Customers Are Saying About Life Alert

Life Alert’s prohibitive costs and lackluster benefits make for a hard sell in a market with many better options. A lot of customers have voiced their complaints online, as well. Below are just a few comments from former customers who were greatly dissatisfied with Life Alert: 

“Terrible customer service. They are only interested in their payments. Had service for my disabled father and they would do the bare minimum to assist. Would not recommend. There are other better options out there.” – Rigo S

“We have been trying to cancel Life Alert for 3 months since our mother passed. Life Alert has been extremely difficult to deal with. Yesterday they promised to have the equipment picked up by UPS, and like all their other promises, it was not delivered.” – Darl M

“I lost my job as soon as I ordered the equipment. I was told I had to pay the $197 plus first month fee regardless of canceling my order in 3 days. There was no compassion and no offer to work with me. They are a very hard sell strong arm company. I would never recommend this company to anyone. Be sure to save your money.” – Aileen S

Alternative Medical Alert Companies to Consider

There are numerous other medical alert systems available that may be a better option than Life Alert. You can learn more about these companies below: 

Overview Of The Top Recommended Medical Alert Systems
Bay Alarm Medical
  • Starts at $19.95
  • In-Home, Mobile GPS, & Smartwatch Options
  • Free Shipping + Free Month on Select Plans
See Packages → Read Our Review →
MobileHelp
  • Starts at $19.95
  • Free Lock Box
  • No Landline Required
See Packages → Read Our Review →
Aloe Care
  • Starts at $24.99 monthly + one-time equipment fee
  • In-home and mobile devices available
  • Hands-free system with motion detection
See Packages → Read Our Review →
Medical Guardian
  • Starts at $29.95
  • Free Shipping & Lock Box
  • Caring.com Special: 1 Month Free
See Packages → Read Our Review →
MedicalAlert
  • Starts at $18.28
  • Up to 800 Feet of Range
  • Starting Fee as Low as $0
See Packages → Read Our Review →
LifeFone
  • Starts at $20.79
  • Up to 1,300 Feet of Range
  • Starting Fee as Low as $0
See Packages → Read Our Review →
GetSafe
  • Starts at $24.95
  • 1,000 Feet of Range
  • Monthly Fall Detection At Just $10/mo
See Packages → Read Our Review →
MedicalCareAlert
  • Starts at $29.95
  • Up to 1,000 Feet of Range
  • Monthly Fall Detection At Just $10/mo
See Packages → Read Our Review →
ResponseNow
  • Starts at $29.95
  • Up to 500 feet of range
  • No Intial Fees
See Packages → Read Our Review →
Lifenet
  • Starts at $29.95
  • Up to 1,000 feet of range
  • Free fall detection for mobile device
See Packages → Read Our Review →

Life Alert Versus Other Medical Alert Systems